Klaus vom Hofe

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Digitization: Please keep calm

Between fantasies about the future and everyday life today: Digitization is driving us forward. This makes it all the more important to talk about it with others. For example at the Barcamp in Bonn.

I have a love for sensors. Unrequited, I know that. And I'm not a technician either. But sensors fascinate me. For me, they are the epitome of digitization. Why? Because they spread rapidly. Because they network, worldwide and in many industries. Because they provide data on the raw material, be it weather, climate, traffic, logistics, buildings, health, trade or much more. Not least because they inspire the imagination. For Internet of Things applications that we cannot even imagine today. Hopefully they will also be able to solve the problems of today and tomorrow.

Admittedly, it makes me nervous how fast, powerful and exponential digitization is making its way. A new disruptive idea regularly seems to question other models. This alone shows with how much fuss new messengers or social media channels are establishing themselves, to name another example besides the sensors.

In short: Digitization occupies us. The Digital X attracted 20,000 visitors in October in Cologne. This shows how high the demand for exchange and information is. This major Telekom networking event was followed by another small one: the "Business Camp Bonn". It is Telekom's "first public bar camp, Volume 2," as organizer Oliver Kepka emphasizes when he welcomed the 120 guests. Among them were a restaurant owner, a physiotherapist, a software specialist, coaches and digital consultants, and a comedian. An event especially for the self-employed, start-ups and small businesses. The lectures or "sessions" are correspondingly colourful. As usual at the Barcamp, the program was only fixed after a participant voting. General topic: People and Digitization.

Make your game

If I were an entrepreneur now or on my way to self-employment, I too would certainly have to give my business a digital boost. "Faites vos jeux - make your game," was the apt phrase in one session. I can only advise everyone to visit such a bar camp or other networking events. To exchange ideas, to explore opportunities together, to learn from experiences and also from setbacks - that brings peace into the game for yourself.

I have also met people like my colleague Julia Schubert, who radiate such peace and have a good view of what is going on. She works in marketing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). I talked to her, for example, about how important it is for innovations to research customers' everyday lives in detail.

Don't get confused

30 topics were on the agenda after the introduction round, including "Service 4.0", "3D Printing" - "Digital Analytics & Online Marketing for SMEs", "Digitization of the world of work" ... Unfortunately, at the Barcamp many things are going on in parallel - the agony of choice. My highlights:

  • "Companies in digital change" - with Sven Giebler. How do companies get fit? One way is to do one's homework, determine one's purpose and values, according to Simon Sinek, for example. That is the basis. Then you can find the right partners and above all employees as well as new business concepts. Giebler also mentioned important ingredients in the company's recipe for success for rapid digitization. Samples: don't be afraid of making mistakes, be open to new ideas, constantly develop and grow, see feedback as an opportunity. In addition: constantly testing new things - having big dreams, but starting small. And inspire employees to do so.
  • "Learning to listen" - with Ute Lange and Alexandra Perl. It is clear that it is important to listen carefully to customers. But the two of them focused on the employees and the real, deep conversation with them. Entrepreneurs in transformation should have open ears, give room and cultivate a fruitful exchange. But that has to be learned. Too often, real listening falls behind. Common cause: Interruption as a power act or a signal à la "My time is more valuable".
  • "Stress and fears in the age of digitization" - with Dr. Ann-Kathrin Richarz. The flood of e-mail, messengers, social media and other digital communication channels put many under pressure to react quickly. At the same time: the fear of missing something. So I'm not alone with my concerns. One participant complained that there was no consensus on when to answer messages, for example. It's worrying that some people don't realize what it all does to you. "Less body feeling through stress", said one participant, while others called it headache, neck pain or sleep disorders. Together we worked out ways out on the flipchart: prioritizing, setting limits, taking responsibility for oneself, being mindful, taking time out, becoming master of the situation, becoming aware of oneself and one's own values. In addition also the “armchair exercise”, three times on the day: everything on flight mode set and 60 seconds long inside listen.

On this day a saying - author unknown - came to my mind, which someone wrote to me in my farewell book about a professional change many years ago: "Stand by yourself, don't let yourself be confused by the offer of joys, punishments, promises and possibilities, go along where you think you can answer for it, and step quietly next to the etiquette and you will see that you can also stand there well". Old adage, but somehow fitting on the way to digitization, I think.

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